Lanisha Bratcher of Hoke County, North Carolina, might be going to jail because she voted.
She is an American citizen of legal voting age, so that’s not the problem.
Occupy Wall Street joined the NAACP as thousands marched in midtown Manhattan on December 10, 2011 to defend voting rights.But Bratcher’s an ex-convict, and in her state, like 47 other U.S. states, those in prison cannot vote.
North Carolina is a member of an even more exclusive club of 21 states where ex-felons can’t vote until they are done with probation — or in other ways see their rights to suffrage denied even after they have served their terms.
Lanisha Bratcher claims she was never informed by a judge that she was denied that right.
Bratcher, who is African-American, appears to be a victim of the legacy of post-Civil War “Jim Crow” legislation imposed by racist Democrats.
Terrified by the prospect of free blacks gaining political power in the postwar 19th century, they sought to restrict black voting by any means possible.
The North Carolina Democratic party at the end of the 1800s claimed they had “to rescue the white people of the east from the curse of negro domination.”
Stripping inmates and former inmates of voting privileges under a 1901 law is a part of this heritage that remains with us to this day.
An irony is that Lanisha Bratcher, who admitted guilt over the charges that sent her to prison in the first place, had cleaned up her act by 2016.
She was trying to live as a model citizen up to the day that police burst through her front door and arrested her in 2019.
On that same day, they arrested three others — as the local Spectrum News puts it:
“Lanisha Bratcher-Bain, Richard Daniels Jr., Tullous Burrow, and Treqwon Covington were each charged with voter fraud. It is alleged that the four convicted felons cast votes in the Hoke County general election while each of them was serving an active felony sentence on felony probation.”
And these four are not the only recent cases in North Carolina stemming from the 2016 election.
Over 440 “suspected felon voters” were detected, and the state turned the cases over to local district attorneys — a few of whom took the bait, and went after voters deemed illegal under the 1901 law.
The most-publicized case was the Alamance 12.
Twelve Alamance County voters — nine of whom are black — were arrested in 2018 and charged with a felony.
Several of the accused have since pled guilty to a misdemeanor, and have had the felony charge dropped, to be replaced by community service and unsupervised probation.
Like Bratcher, they claimed innocence of knowledge they were barred from voting.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice maintains that the 1901 law is racist and unconstitutional — but so far, it is still on the books.